By Richard McKeever
In advance of Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement this week Community Links was one of more than 50 charities, trade unions and academics warning of the impact of more benefit cuts on the families we work with.
This week’s Autumn Statement could leave thousands of children and families even further away from being able to meet their essential costs of living. As organisations and individuals concerned with their wellbeing, we are increasingly worried that the statement may worsen already alarming projections that child poverty will rise by 800,000 by 2020.
With basic living costs increasing, we know many families are having to make difficult choices; a freeze on benefits and tax credits will make these choices even harder. Far too many families on low incomes live well below the poverty line. We know that nearly a quarter of the poorest families can’t even afford to warm their homes.
It would be a tragedy for millions, and a travesty for the economy, to push the poorest into deeper poverty by this week failing to uprate benefits in line with inflation, or by making other cuts to social security for families and disabled people.
The Chancellor has plenty of tough decisions to make, but first and foremost he must protect the livelihoods of children in low-income families. The effects of rising child poverty are far-reaching and long-lasting for our economy. By limiting children’s potential, poverty reduces the skills available to employers and harms economic growth. Child poverty is estimated to cost Britain at least £25bn a year in lost tax revenues and increased public service costs.
The Government must focus on the long-term successes that investment in our children will bring, by protecting the incomes of the poorest and maintaining their spending power in the economy.
- Alison Garnham, Chief Executive, Child Poverty Action Group
- Enver Solomon, Chair, End Child Poverty Coalition
- Phil Bloomer, Campaigns and Policy Director, Oxfam
- Fiona Weir, Chief Executive, Gingerbread
- Anne Marie Carrie, Chief Executive, Barnardo’s
- Helen Berresford, Head of Campaigns, Save the Children
- Brendan Barber, General Secretary, TUC
- Matthew Reed, Chief Executive, The Children’s Society
- Niall Cooper, National Coordinator, Church Action on Poverty
- Steve Winyard, Head of Policy & Campaigns, Royal National Institute of Blind People
- Sarah Jackson, Chief Executive Working Families
- Anne Longfield, Chief Executive, 4Children
- Srabani Sen, Chief Executive, Contact a Family
- Sean O’Neill, Policy Director, Children in Wales
- Laura Courtney, Campaign Manager, Every Disabled Child Matters
- Helen Dent CBE, Chief Executive, Family Action
- Les Allamby, Director, Law Centre Northern Ireland
- Cameron Watt, Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations
- Belinda Phipps Chief Executive, National Childbirth Trust
- Dann Kenningham, National Coordination, ATD Fourth World UK
- Rev Paul Nicolson, Chair, Zacchaeus 2000 Trust
- Susanne Rauprich, Chief Executive, The National Council for Voluntary Youth Services
- Rosalind Bragg, Director, Maternity Action
- Alison Taylor, Director, Turn2us
- Julie Bishop, Director, Law Centres Network
- Fiona Blacke, Chief Executive, National Youth Agency
- Paola Uccellari, Director, Children’s Rights Alliance for England
- Richard Hamer, Director of External Affairs, Capability Scotland
- Martin Sime, Chief Executive, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations
- Peter Kelly, Chief Executive, The Poverty Alliance
- Bill Scott, Manager, Inclusion Scotland
- Satwat Rehman, Director, One Parent Families Scotland
- Steve Murphy, General Secretary of UCATT
- Bob Crow, RMT General Secretary
- Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ General Secretary
- Mary Bousted, ATL General Secretary
- Sally Hunt, UCU General Secretary
- Dave Prentis, UNISON General Secretary
- Paul Noon, Prospect General Secretary
- John Hannett, USDAW General Secretary
- Billy Hayes, CWU General Secretary
- Chris Keates, General Secretary, NASUWT, Len McCluskey General Secretary, Unite
- Christine Blower, General Secretary, National Union of Teachers
- Professor John Veit-Wilson, Newcastle University
- Dr Kitty Stewart, London School of Economics
- Eva Lloyd, Reader in Early Childhood, University of East London
- Adrian Sinfield, Emeritus professor of social policy, The University of Edinburgh.
- Mary Taylor, Chief Executive, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations
- Stewart Wallis OBE, Executive Director of the New Economics Foundation
- Geraldine Blake, Chief Executive Community Links.
- Alison Todd, Deputy Chief Executive, Children 1st
- Margaret Lynch, Chief Executive Officer, Citizens Advice Scotland
- Neil Coyle, Director of Policy and Campaigns at Disability Rights UK